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Is a virtual office the way to go in these modern times?

For small business owners, perception is everything. The way you brand and position your company determines how potential clients view and interact with you.

This is especially important for businesses operating out of a residential apartment. Although, there is nothing wrong with running a home based business, in fact, Google, which happens to be one of the biggest companies in the world, started out from the garage of their founders.

However, the major problem with home-based businesses is that your prospective clients, especially if you’re targeting corporate executives, may not take you or your company seriously. This could pose a challenge for you as a small business owner because your prospects will mostly prefer to deal with your bigger, more established competitors they view as credible and professional.

This is where virtual offices come in to save the day for small businesses. A virtual office provides a brilliant turnkey solution for small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs looking to have the perks of a fully functional corporate office with a receptionist, conference room use, faxes, mail forwarding etc. but without the huge costs involved.

While digital marketing strategies like content marketing and social media marketing will help you leverage the playing ground between yourself and bigger companies, a fully serviced virtual office in the right location can speak volumes about your company. And you can even use your virtual company’s address on your business cards and other printed marketing materials.

Here are seven ways small businesses and entrepreneurs can benefit from using a virtual office:

A Virtual Office Provides Your Small Business with a Professional Corporate Identity

Having a credible, professional and corporate brand identity is by far the biggest challenge small businesses face when trying to acquire and retain new clients.

A virtual office gives you the opportunity to have the same professional image your larger competitors have. By investing in a virtual office that provides you a corporate address, business telephone number and administrative support, you are indirectly investing in your corporate identity thus gaining the trust of potential clients.

A critical part of portraying a corporate identity that your prospective clients can trust revolves around how your calls are answered. By having a professional receptionist answer your calls (before forwarding it to you or taking down a message), you create the impression that you are a large company with various departments within your organisation.

It can Save Your Small Business Money

Minimising costs and increasing revenue has been the motto of businesses for years. A virtual office can help you do both. It helps you save money on expensive office space and administrative support while also increasing your efficiency and effectiveness – two key ingredients needed to maximise revenue.

On the other hand, when you rent office space in commercially zoned areas, you tend to spend a lot of money. Things like insurance, taxes, office furniture, signage, heat etc. gulp a lot of cash. If you’re a team of maybe 10 to 20, and you’re generating six-figure profits, then the expense are justified, but if you’re still a start-up trying to grow your company, then a brick and mortar office is out of the question.

But a virtual office provides you with all the bells and whistles of a corporate office, complete with a corporate mailing address, professional call answering service and access to conference rooms at just a fraction of the cost. This will help you portray a corporate brand image that is necessary to overcome any objections that your potential clients might have when dealing with you.

A Virtual Office Gives your Small Business a Search Engine Boost

Small businesses struggle with many things, including search engine optimisation (SEO). A virtual office solves this problem.

A virtual office in an urban, commercially zoned area can easily be added to Google My Business and Google Maps, so when people are making local searches about your competitors, your company name, address, telephone, and website will also come up.

This not only improves your search engine visibility but also makes your prospects trust your company much more.

It Provides Your Small Business with Market Validation

Whether you’re just starting out your small business or you’re contemplating on expanding into a new market, a virtual office provides a cheap and affordable solution to get started without the overhead costs involved.

When starting out a new business, especially one that requires a legal business address, the need to rent an office space, furnish it and hire administrative staff usually makes the whole process extremely expensive and daunting to even the bravest entrepreneur.

Or perhaps you are a small business looking to expand into a new market, probably in another country, in order to build trust and improve local SEO; you will need to set up a local presence there that people can easily connect with.

A virtual office makes it easy for you to test the waters and see how lucrative your new venture is without breaking the bank.

A Virtual Office Gives Your Small Business an International Brand Perception

Small businesses that are looking to expand their reach and market share can benefit greatly from having virtual offices across the world.

Regardless of your business industry, you will need to expand and grow your company line eventually. To do that, you will need to expand into new markets to test the waters and validate your idea. A virtual office can quickly help you set up your business abroad without the costs of actually moving there.

And if you really do need to have staff on ground, you can simply hire remote workers that help you meet with clients and offer localized customer support.

It Gives You Access to World Wide Talent

Another benefit of using a virtual office for your small business is the access it gives you to working with talented individuals from across the world. This would have been nearly impossible as a small business; however, with more and more people working from home, virtual offices can help you build a team of talented people from anywhere in the world.

Although, running a team of remote workers might pose some challenges, such as keeping employees motivated might be a challenge. But with various collaboration and project management tools such as Trello, Skype, Google Docs, Slack etc, you can keep your staff on track every time by establishing goals and milestones.

A Virtual Office Increases Your Small Business’s Productivity

As you go from monitoring when employees arrive to work to establishing specific goals and milestones, you’ll notice how the productivity within your company increases. This will also make it obvious which of your employees are working hard and which ones are lacking behind.

Also, the virtual receptionist and mail forwarding service that most virtual office service providers offer, make it easy for small business owners who don’t have any employees to manage their time and increase productivity. They are able to focus on what is most important; running their business.

Another often overlooked benefit is that letting employees work remotely increases their turnover because the stress of the “boss breathing down their neck” has been eliminated.

Virtual offices make it easy for small businesses to establish themselves as a credible, reliable and trustworthy company. It also helps them portray a sense of professionalism that, otherwise, would have been impossible to convey to prospective clients.